yesterday's activities


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Catching up the last few days:

Bake white chocolate chunk and craisin oatmeal cookies with Child. They came out a little different than I expected, but still tasty.

Pack and organize stuff.

Discover to my disappointment that the gifts I asked Husband to wrap--one of the ONLY things I asked him to do for the holidays, since he is sick--are just boxed and/or stuffed into a gift bag. Husband: when I use the word "wrap," this should indicate to you that I am expecting you to use wrapping paper. I'm aware you are sick, but if you have the energy to spend 30-60 mins on a work phone call, you can spend 15-30 minutes wrapping 3 presents for Child. Do not be a lazy butt. Lighten my load that tiny little bit.

12:27--I drive all of us to NJ.

4:30ish--Arrive NJ.

5:30 or 6ish--Hors d'oeuvres and some early present giving, as Sister's boyfriend (who is possibly the only Jewish cop in his particular police force) has agreed to work the 24th and 25th.

7ish--Steak dinner.

Stay up chatting with Dad.


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5:45--Sister gets up to drive her husband to train. Since Husband and I sleep in the finished basement at my parents' house, I hear them and then cannot really fall back to sleep. Fabulous. But I stay in bed until around 7:30.

Do you ever wonder who those LOSERS are at the shopping mall on December 24th? Well, wonder no more. Dad has yet to shop for Mom. Go to Princeton Marketfair. Succeed at Williams-Sonoma. Swing and a miss at Pottery Barn. Ditto Platypus. Drive to Home Depot for another swing and a miss.

Wegman's to pick up catered dinner. They have our turkey dinner for the 25th, but not the chicken and penne my parents ordered for tonight. Sister and I are designated to pick something else.

Unload. Lunch.
So dang tired I fall asleep in the living room.

2:30--Round 2! Downtown Princeton. Success at Talbot's, after some effort. (At first, Dad dislikes everything Sister and I suggest.) I also hit a toy store, as we have been surprised by news that my cousin, his wife, and their 3-year-old are coming from LA.
Success at the U-Store.

Wrapping party with my Dad. I wrap the things that I do not feel Husband has adequately wrapped.
Apples to Apples Junior. Husband plays for awhile then heads down to bedroom and tells me to call him for dinner.

Yummy mediterranean tray for hors d'oeuvres.


To bed on early side.


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Slept until 8:30! YES!
9-11--Opened some more present w/family.
Took a shower.

1:30ish or 2ish--Long Island/NYC based relatives arrive!
Cousin D graduated from Brooklyn Law last spring and took her bar exam this summer. The law firm where she is a beginning associate practices in both NY and NJ, and she passed the bar exam, so my Dad put on his judicial robes and officially swore her in as a member of the NJ Bar. That was very sweet.
Cousin B is a brand-new accountant at one of the top 5 firms. We ask him about his hours and he says they aren't too crazy, about 8:30 AM-7:30 PM. That's a full day!

Lots of socializing, including a funny game with Christmas crackers and with whistles inside, where we tried to play Christmas carols.

3:30ish--L.A. Cousin T (who is my age-mate cousin on this side of the family), his wife, and their 3-year-old arrive from visiting her family in NYC. They are on their way down to MD that night. Lots of fun for Child to have another child to play with.
Cousin T and I have spent so, so, so many Christmas together, sleeping in the same room and making mischief. He was very special to me growing up. I wish we lived closer as adults so we could see each other more than 1-2x/year.

Husband isn't doing great: goes back downstairs after a little bit of socializing. Comes up for dinner, then goes back to bed. Comes up for dessert, back to bed. Not so good.

6ish--L.A. relatives leave. We sit down to turkey dinner.
8ish--Everyone has to leave, as quite a few family members have work on the 26th!!! I am surprised and realize anew how lucky and easy I have it.

9:30--In bed!!!


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christmas eve...quiet day...practice...dtr arrives back home from her bf's... we open some gifts from my inlaws that they left behind before leaving for some pre-christmas cooking (bake the sweet potatoes and a disgusting veggie casserole that my kid's like which involves velveeta) ...and put a beautiful pork roast with rosemary from my garden and a nice viognier in the crockpot with celery, red pepper and carrots...made some mint chocolate cookies, pumpkin bread and corn bread...dh and dtr did spritz go off to watch something on TV and dh and I honor our tradition of exchanging gifts privately.....I pretty much fall asleep immediately thereafter


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christmas day.....up around 7 open their dad calls....we decide to go see les miz and find most of it to be better than we though it would be....with the notable exception of Russel Crowe who gave the flatest, most un-nuanced version of Javer that I have ever seen...I wouldn't have minded his mediocre singing if he managed to actually put forth some acting...but that was not to be...we go home and play BIG BANG game..son calls cutest baby in the world..he is headed out here next week..I am again exhausted and in bed early again


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today...wake at 7...teach step...home to cook and clean...have friends over...back to teach an abs class and a step class...connect with some people who have had some rough times over the holidays...home now and tired again...bed soon


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Up early after nightmares almost all night.

Pack. Insist on two 15 minute room rescue sessions, so that we are not leaving my parents with a super messy house. (They of course say this is unnecessary, but really...they just hosted 14 people and they are in their early 70s.)

10:45-4:45--Drive home to MD in less-than-great weather/road/traffic conditions. I get to drive the whole way, of course, since Husband is sick. Husband has a rather grim business meeting from around 11-12 via phone. Child's stomach was also somewhat unsettled during the first part of the drive, so we make more stops than usual. The whole drive was not a barrel of laughs.
Pick up dog.

Work on uploading photos, going through (and mostly deleting) e-mail, etc.

Take a much deserved hot bath while glancing through Frommer's San Diego.


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Hah! That reminds me of the episode of Cheers where Sam decides to read Diane's first edition of some classic novel or the other while in the bathtub. He accidentally drops the book in, then spends several hilarious minutes trying to figure out how to convince Diane that the book should be swollen to three times its usual size. What a hoot!


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Lol. Yeah, probably best to read magazines or very replaceable books in the bath! (And I'd consider Frommer's San Diego to be in that category, since travel books do get dated.)

Stomach is a little upset due to excesses of the holiday. (Number on the scale is decidedly higher too, but that is a separate issue!) So decide to have a relaxing morning at home.

A little unpacking.
Read to self.
Read to Child.
Picked out some possible recipes to make over the next couple days.

Husband went to his doctor since he is still not well. They are going to do a CT of his sinus cavities early next week and then possibly send him to an ENT. There might be a chest x-ray in the mix too. Okay! Now I feel like we're getting somewhere!
It's not like I want specialists and high-priced tests most of the time. I actually protested when they did a head CT on me when I hurt my back, passed out, and wound up in the ER in December 2010. (I think they wanted to rule out that I had a seizure...I was 99.9% sure I passed out from pain and dehydration. But my feeble protest went nowhere, as the doctor stuck her head back around the curtain and told me she wanted the rule out and I was feeling too poorly to argue more strenuously.)
In this case, we have the opposite problem. Husband has been sick for over 2 months. The therapies we've tried so far are NOT working. Let's figure this out!

5.8 miles in 1 hour on treadmill, including 45 mins straight jogging, then intervals. Brisk walked to get to 6 miles, just to even things out. Shower.

Husband has had stressful work news and tells me about it. His head is now absolutely pounding.

Grocery store and liquor store. I am such a babe in the woods in the liquor store. I have no idea what kind of red wine to get for this stew, really, and I think I got a nicer Cabernet than what was really required. Oh well.

Read to Child some more.
Put Child to bed.
Finished reading The Giver, a book many of my students have mentioned to me over the years as another example of a dystopia and which she had in her room. (I often teach books like Brave New World and The Handmaid's Tale, and sometimes 1984 as well.) So powerful! Maaaaaybe a little mature in content for Child's age group, but a little late for me to be reaching this insight since she read it months ago.

Wrote in diary.



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thurs, cook and clean round 3 or, his wife and nephew come over ...this is shorter than usual because SIL had to with nephew and show him how to use the various crafts that I bought him....I feel like I can't just buy him video games (though I will do that too) I do my part to make sure he is exposed to a few things that would otherwise not be part of his life....our last evening as a family for a while since dtr leaves to play in the band at a bowl game tomorrow....I am beginning to long for my old routine.....develop a grand headache...also spend some time pondering how I am going to use my time alone when they are all gone net week....think I will, gasp, social dance a bit


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finish packing small carry bag for jet blue flight/ long beach to austin.
note on web that there is literally no traffic, very weird, on the fwys.
last minute check off list before leaving house.
arrive in record time, park car in new parking structure, very nice btw.
it is breezy, clear and sunny in long beach, california, perfect for flying out i note.
daughter, who is working like a tornado at georgetown tx target texts me,
hurry mom, i cant wait to see you i am so excited.
this makes my heart warm and missing her whirlwind self brings back memories of long ago,.
get into long beach airport terminal, do a complete, gasp, double take''''''''' it is now very modern, huge, spacious, clean, so many security machines the tsa agents have nothing to do and are begging people to come to their line lol.
i quickly walk through and enter a marvelous outdoor atrium garden seating area that causes me to stop and take pictures. head to gate. ohhhh my, absolutely lovely concourse, and to my amazement i head upstairs to see what else has changed.
wow now there is a full restaurant and the air museum and the view, you can watch jets landing and taking off. what a great morning. what a huge change from the tiny airport to clearly modern day.
i see jet pull in, i note the name on the jet "hopelessly devoted to blue" gotta laugh.
smooth flight and the flight attendent looks at me, recognizes me, says " your a ski instructornat bear mtn? we connect, i use to know her, and find she married the director of the ski school, small world, we catch up and i am truly amzed at the people i run into in the least likely of places. daughter picks me up at airport, we are off and running, gifts, stores, party supplies, clothing, at 1a.m. last night, we both go to sleep. plans for party of 25 adults, multi kids check. clothing fornteaching job, check, exchanged duplicate gifts before children arrive, check, settle in, admired xmas decoration job by dd and friend, check check and double check. prepare for onslaught and dd first multi family and friends party,,,,a defineate check. husband calls, two hours away, arriving early a.m. goodnight dear. wink.


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@Fascination--Btw, rewinding a few days, I'm glad you enjoyed "Les Mis" and I hope to get a chance to see it too! (I would also like to see "Anna Karenina," "Lincoln," and "Skyfall," if I can still find theaters playing them!)

Believe it or not, I was well into my 20s until I even knew that movie theaters were open on Christmas, and that some blockbuster movies open on Christmas Day. (Then I spent a Christmas in L.A. with Husband's family and my eyes were opened.) I had always assumed it was one of those days like Thanksgiving, where the country pretty much shuts down...or used to, when we were kids. Now I guess people go early Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving, and probably before we know it, after Christmas sales will probably start on Christmas too, in keeping with this country's true religion, capitalism.


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Amen, sister.

When I was little and growing up in Philly (literally in the backyard of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philly -- I could see the campus of the Archdiocese from my back porch.) On Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, everything was closed from noon to 3:00. EVERYTHING. Banks. Supermarkets. Gas stations.

In retrospect, Philly was a pretty cool place to be, back then. HUGE Catholic presence (still there -- the Archdiocese and St. Joe's University now own a HUGE chunk of real estate on City Line Ave) a HUGE Orthodox Jewish community (now gone across city line and onto The Main Line -- where the wealthy live just outside of Philly) plus tons of ethnic groups in various places across the city. It was awesome. I wish I'd known enough to appreciate it more, back then.


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AM--Wrote in diary, read Body Outlaws, read The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch with Child.

PM--Made 1st recipe of the day: Mexican-Style Brown Rice Casserole.

Dog crisis toward the end of this, as dog ate grapes, which are poisonous to dogs. Husband is calling the vet, and informing me he is going to make the dog vomit. Hon? I'm cooking. I don't want to hear about dog vomit right now, if it's all the same to you. I understand the urgency, but I think the details about whether the dog has vomited up the grapes could be disclosed on a need to know basis. Maybe it's just me being stupidly squeamish....

Exercise time! 5.85 miles on my treadmill in 1 hr. Walked it out to make it 6 miles even. Shower.

Enjoyed yummy casserole.

Family Fun Night: Blokus tournament.

2nd recipe of the day: Hearty Red Wine and Beef Stew. This sucker took me about 50 minutes to put together, and then needs to simmer for 2 hours, so I decided to make it today for tomorrow.

Child and I ran out to PetSmart to get more wet food for the dog. (God forbid the dog should eat a kind of food you can get in the supermarket.)

Read some more until bed.


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I am of a mind that I would prefer not to leave home on a holy day...that being said,both my children and my spouse wanted to see the movie, and I felt that the content was consistent with the holiday....AND, since we had no family coming, which was a disappointment, it seemed like an okay change to our norm...I wouldn't have much interest in repeating it...that being said, I am aware that not everyone celebrates every holiday and I think it is a good thing that communities recognize that


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Family stuff
Rolfer, sigh

Take father, SIL, and brother to dim sum restaurant in Chinatown
Home; crash
Go have drinks and din with Samina, have a *wonderful* time
Home; crash


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Up, roast beef tenderloin for future use
Prep turkey for roasting
Lesson! before lesson, drop brother off to visit the ex (they have been friends for over 40 years) and SIL at supermarket; SIL walks from supermarket to studio, 2 blocks away, and catches the tail end of my lesson
Stop to pick up lunch, then home
Roast turkey; this turns out to be less of a no-brainer than I expect due to hidden issues, and let's not go there
Do some party prep
Manage to stay awake until 8:30


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fri...teach bike and bench...people love that class...I am proud of my to city to get new ATM card.... must say, the nice thing about having a private banker is that it makes these routine stupidities in my life infinitely less has lunch at 7 on state which happens to be an upscale food court including a frontera grill....yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum....take dtr back to school to fly to bowl game...they accidentally assign her a hotel room with a male room mate....fix home.....receive my wonderful goodies from Peaches.....not much else


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I am of a mind that I would prefer not to leave home on a holy day...that being said,both my children and my spouse wanted to see the movie, and I felt that the content was consistent with the holiday....AND, since we had no family coming, which was a disappointment, it seemed like an okay change to our norm...I wouldn't have much interest in repeating it...that being said, I am aware that not everyone celebrates every holiday and I think it is a good thing that communities recognize that

Yeah. I'm not big on most holidays. But I'm also not big on all stores being open all the time. I think that our society, to a great extent, has lost respect for the sacred, unless, as CCM suggests, it's money we're talking about.

When I was little (and through high school, IIRC,) since I lived in such a religious city, we got off from school for all the Christian holidays and all the Jewish High Holidays. What's wrong with that? Our school year calendar still managed to have the 180 days required by the federal government. And we respected people's beliefs.

Why should I have to be able to buy ... I dunno ... Febreze on Christmas? Can't it wait until the day after? Is nothing holy anymore?


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Staff member one takes holiness from my life...I do a plenty fine job of that all on my own...I have no issue with things being open, but I regret that,as a consequence of that, some folks who really need their job but also would like to observe the holiday, are then forced to work...then again, life isn't perfect and doctors and nurses and mill workers and cops etc.have all been working on christmas and making it work and not letting the season lose it's sacredness for a long long time now

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